Scrolling through my Twitter feed I was drawn to the graphic below. Simple. Clean. Minimal. Colorful. It just looked like smart thinking to me in the 2 seconds that I glanced at it on my phone. So I scrolled back and took a closer look.
This is the work of British designer Hayden Peek. His idea is a great example of Design Thinking in action. Peek started from a place of empathy. In his words:
“Numbers are too technical and honestly, who really understands what two grams of sugar or 845 calories means?” “Who’s got time to calculate all these numbers? Numbers get ignored. It’s simply too much work. Life is busy.”
“People are free to buy whatever food they like, but imagine a young mum who shops for her family,” says Peek. “Week after week, receipt after receipt, the graphics stay red. How long could she ignore this information? How long before it prompts her into action to make some changes?”
Peek’s thinking was to use the data already embedded in grocery stores and product barcodes and remove the numbers, reducing the data to a color coded summary of the level (High, Medium, Low) of Calories, Fats, Saturated Fats, Sugar, and Salt in your shopping cart.
I thought about the Design Thinking Process and about this design from Peek and I sketched out a possible scenario for the development of this design:
Peek’s work was shared via FastCoExist and although his entire design process was not shared, the thinking behind how and why he decided on this as a viable option for improving the nutritional habits of a nation were mentioned. In sharing his work, I found myself drawn back to the ‘discovery’ stage where iterations are made on the design to wonder if something can be added to include the level of High Fructose Corn Syrup, often ‘hidden’ in foods – even more so in light of a recent name change of HFCS.
This simple design idea could lead to big changes in the way people think about their shopping habits and move some of those people toward changes in their consumption behavior. While I am sure Peek will make money from this design in some manner should it come to fruition, this would be a great example to share with students to help them start thinking about what they can do and the simple changes they could design to make things better for the greater good – with empathy, rather than profit, as their motivation.